Media Room

Backgrounder: Advancing Planning and Design for the Relief Line and Yonge Subway Extension

May 9, 2017

staff report going to the May 16, 2017 meeting of Executive Committee recommends a final alignment for the Relief Line South, and advances planning and design for the Relief Line and the Yonge Subway Extension (YSE) within the context of the current demand forecasts for Line 1.

Line 1 is the backbone of the City's transit system, carrying more than 500,000 passengers into and out of downtown Toronto daily. The City, together with the TTC, is planning the Relief Line, a new rapid transit line to connect Line 1 Yonge-University from Osgoode Station to Line 2 Bloor-Danforth at Pape Station. This line will relieve crowding on Line 1 Yonge-University, at Bloor-Yonge Station, and on the surface transit routes coming in and out of downtown. Planning for the Relief Line South is a City/TTC priority transit expansion project. Current demand forecasts indicate that the Relief Line South is required by 2031, when Line 1 will be at its capacity of 36,000 passengers per hour per direction.

The YSE will extend Line 1 7.4 kilometres north from Finch Station to Highway 7. This project includes five stations at Cummer/Drewry, Steeles, Clark, Langstaff/Longbridge and Richmond Hill Centre. Current forecasts indicate that peak point demand on Line 1 may exceed capacity with YSE in 2031, however further work is required to understand the impacts of Metrolinx's GTHA fare integration and local/regional service integration on Line 1 demand. Future project approvals for the YSE beyond the current phase of work will be considered within the context of Line 1 capacity analysis.

Relief Line South

  • In 2014, the Relief Line Project Assessment was initiated to identify an alignment and station locations for the Relief Line South (Pape-Danforth to downtown) and is nearing completion. To-date, the City has spent approximately $4.1 million since 2014 on the Relief Line Project Assessment.
  • In July 2016, City Council approved a Pape-Eastern-Queen alignment for the Relief Line South, with the exception of a local segment immediately north of the GO tracks to Queen Street, and authorized staff to proceed to a Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) when ready.
  • Since July 2016, the City and TTC have completed extensive work including development of an alternative local segment alignment on Carlaw, community and stakeholder consultation, and technical analysis and evaluation.
  • This report recommends the Carlaw alignment for the local segment because it maximizes city-building opportunities around stations, provides people with better connectivity with surface transit, and minimizes potential negative impacts to the local area. The Pape-Carlaw-Eastern-Queen alignment for the Relief Line South will be advanced to TPAP in fall 2017 – a major project milestone.
  • The next phase of work for the Relief Line South is to accelerate the planning and design (approximately 15-30 per cent design) to develop a Class 3 cost estimate, which is required to establish a baseline project budget and schedule. Staff will report back with the Class 3 cost estimate in Q4 2019.
  • It is anticipated this work will cost $100 million and take 24 months. Funding for this planning and design work is available through the City's approved 10-year Capital Budget and Plan ($55 million over 2017-18) and provincial funding announced in June 2016 ($150 million).
  • Given the importance of this project, the report also recommends that Mayor and City Manager be authorized to negotiate funding arrangements with the Province and Federal Government for capital construction of the Relief Line South and report back to City Council.

Relief Line North

  • Relief Line North (Pape-Danforth to Sheppard) will increase accessibility to the downtown, and improve relief to Line 1 over the longer term, as identified in previous studies including the TTC's Downtown Rapid Transit Expansion Study (DRTES) and Metrolinx's Yonge Relief Network Study.
  • Planning for the Relief Line North should be advanced. This report recommends that an initial business case be developed in partnership with Metrolinx and the TTC for this project.
  • The Province/Metrolinx will fund the planning studies to develop the initial business case, through the provincial funding announced in June 2016 ($150 million).
  • Timing for this project is subject to further evaluation of measures to address demand on Line 1.

Yonge Subway Extension (YSE)

  • In 2009, City Council approved an Environmental Assessment for the YSE.
  • Given the long lead time to develop complex infrastructure projects, this report recommends that planning and design be advanced to develop a Class 3 cost estimate for the project subject to five principles for the project planning and design phase of work:
    • City/TTC will own, operate and maintain the subway infrastructure, recognizing it is an extension of Line 1 service;
    • TTC will be responsible for project management of project planning and design;
    • York Region and Metrolinx provide funding for the work;
    • All parties will agree to a procurement options analysis to assess the best project delivery model for the project; and
    • TTC will be responsible for future delivery of the project.
  • The report recommends that the City Manager enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the TTC, Metrolinx and York Region, that defines roles and responsibilities based on the key principles, including that the TTC will recover the full costs of completing the work required to develop a Class 3 cost estimate for the YSE.
  • The City and TTC will report back with a Class 3 cost estimate prior to the next phase of work (project procurement and delivery). The report back will include results from analysis of initiatives impacting Line 1 capacity, including Metrolinx's GTHA fare integration, local and regional service integration, and other measures being assessed by City/TTC.

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Media contact: Wynna Brown, Strategic Communications, 416 392-8937, Wynna.Brown@toronto.ca


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